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Ashway: Finally! The Great Dentoni’s Fearless Forecast for 2021
Denton Ashway
DENTON ASHWAY

Fear not, friends!

Finally forgetting fetid 2020, your fearless forecaster flies face forward, feverishly flabbergasting fools, and fingering flustered foils’ foibles.

Fast-forward to 2021, as the Great Dentoni, in fine fettle, faces fate, formulates fabrications, foretells fun, fazes farcical facts, and finds fault. 

Your foremost 2021 forecast fiasco follows:

January: Kirby Smart’s Dawgs usher in the new year by tuning up for their 2021 season opener. JT Daniels runs the new-age offense to perfection, and Georgia rolls to an easy win over undefeated Cincinnati. Their next opponent, Clemson, cruises to a 35-20 playoff win over Ohio State. “I can think of 10 teams in the country that are better than them,” observes coach Dabo Swinney. One of them, Alabama, makes a mockery of the large point spread in edging Notre Dame, 52-17. “I told you!” says Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher. The championship game is more offensive than those incessant ads for senatorial candidates. Alabama has the ball last, and Mac Jones finds DeVonta Smith on a skinny post for the winning score. When asked if he is proud of his quarterback, the smug Nick Saban replies, “I’m proud of all my players.”

February: Super Bowl LV visits Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Undaunted by the crowd limited to NFL honchos and their pals, the Browns and Packers put on a spirited, retro-performance for the millions watching from afar. In their first championship matchup since the days of Vince Lombardi and Blanton Collier, the Browns recall days of yore with their punishing, ball-control offense featuring the relentless Nick Chubb. Cleveland pulls off an epic upset to win its first title in 56 years.

March: The Madness occurs before the tournament begins, as Kentucky, North Carolina, and Duke all fail to make the field. Even more stunning, both Tech and Georgia earn bids. In the end, Gonzaga finally rewards Mark Few for never leaving, and the Zags cut down the nets for the first time as national champions. In the women’s tournament, Stanford rewards all-time winningest coach Tara VanDerveer with her third natty. They run up the score on Kim Mulkey’s Baylor Bears in the final.

April: What’s this? A tradition like no other? What are they doing playing the Masters in April? And what’s the deal with all those bright shrubs and so many spectators, er, patrons that you can’t see the course? None of it matters, as Dustin Johnson decides he’d like to be champion for a full term. He effortlessly matches his 20-under-par total from last November.

May: The viral pandemic fades further into the past as half of the free world, all donning chapeaux, descends upon Churchill Downs for the Derby’s return to the first Saturday in May. Essential Quality’s win is the only diversion away from the Braves. The starting rotation evokes memories of the Big Three. Mike Soroka returns to his pre-injury form, but Max Fried refuses to relinquish his ace status. Ian Anderson shows last year’s brief success was no fluke. Charlie Morton makes fans wonder why the Braves ever traded him in the first place. Drew Smyly quietly matches the others with career-best numbers. And the offense? Please. No need to ask.

June: The US Open golf championship returns to Torrey Pines in La Jolla, scene of the epic 2008 shootout between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate. Phil Mickelson hangs around for three days but fails (again) to win the Open. Woods hangs around for most of Sunday. But Brooks Koepka, finally playing on two good knees again, recaptures his championship form.

July: The NBA playoffs finally conclude, and LeBron James leads the Lakers to another title. “I can’t argue,” says James when asked if he is the GOAT. When asked the same question, Bill Russell replies, “He has how many rings?” followed by his famous cackle.

August: New Auburn coach Bryan Harsin creates quite a stir at SEC Media Days. He immediately learns never to begin a sentence with the words, “When we were at Boise State…"

September: The college football season begins on time with a packed house as Georgia meets Clemson in Charlotte. Georgia has the ball last, and JT Daniels hits George Pickens on a skinny post for the winning score. “I don’t think there are four teams in the country better than Georgia,” Swinney says with a sigh.

October: After 26 years of wandering through its wilderness, the Braves finally enter baseball’s promised land, winning the World Series in a four-game sweep of the team from Cleveland. “These guys are just something else,” says manager Brian Snitker before getting choked up.

November: The Atlanta Falcons finally right the ship under new coach Gus Malzahn, reeling off four straight wins after losing their first seven.

December: Georgia finally gets past Alabama in the SEC Championship game, clinching the top seed in the CFP. They’re followed by Clemson, Ohio State, and, yes, Alabama.